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The Shambhala Guide to Sufism / Edition 1

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Overview

The soaring voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the ecstatic dance of the Whirling Dervishes, the rapturous verse of Jalaluddin Rumi—all are expressions of Sufism, often regarded as the mystical tradition of Islam. Who are the Sufis? They are more than mystics; they are empowered by the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad. They are guided by saints and masters. They belong to orders ranging from North Africa and Turkey to India and Central Asia. In addition to prayer and fasting, they practice techniques of meditation. They recite poetry, delight in music, and perform dance, all towards one goal—union with God, the Divine Beloved. This comprehensive introduction clarifies the concept of Sufism and discusses its origin and development. In addition, the author discusses the important issues of Sufism's relationship with the larger Islamic world and its encounters with fundamentalism and modern secularism, along with the appropriation of Sufism by non-Muslims and the development of Sufi traditions in the West.
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Editorial Reviews

Erik S. Ohlander
...Comprehensive, yet very approachable....displays a clarity and an intellectual rigor that elucidates the many mysteries if the Sufi traditions...
— Parabola
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, is often overshadowed in the news by attention to Shiite Islam. Ernst, who teaches religion at UNC-Chapel Hill, seeks in this fine little guide to introduce readers to Sufism. In an opening chapter, Ernst provides an elaborate history of Sufism's origins, as well as an overview of the ways in which many Western scholars and practitioners of Islam use the word "Sufi" in a pejorative way to mean a person who follows certain ascetic and ethical rules. Ernst shows that Sufism is a movement that involves people who are simply attempting to follow the commands of the Qur'an, guided by saints, and seeking union with God. In subsequent chapters, Ernst examines the sacred sources of Sufism. He emphasizes saints and sainthood in Sufism; the spiritual practices, like meditation, that help Sufis internalize the Word of God; the Sufi orders of master and disciple; Sufi poetry, music and dance; and Sufism's relationship to fundamentalist Islam. In the process, Ernst gives us one of the most complete and accessible guides to Sufism available. (Oct.)
Erik S. Ohlander
...[C]omprehensive, yet very approachable....displays a clarity and an intellectual rigor that elucidates the many mysteries if the Sufi traditions...
— Parabola
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570621802
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl W. Ernst, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A specialist in Islamic mysticism, he has spent research tours in Pakistan, India, and Turkey. He is also the author of Words and Ecstasy in Sufism and the translator of The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master by Ruzbihan Baqli.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Preface
1 What Is Sufism? 1
2 The Sacred Sources of Sufism 32
3 Saints and Sainthood 58
4 The Names of God, Meditation, and Mystical Experience 81
5 The Sufi Orders: Mastery, Discipleship, and Initiation 120
6 Sufi Poetry 147
7 Sufi Music and Dance 179
8 Sufism in the Contemporary World 199
Notes 229
Select Bibliography 243
Select Discography 247
Index 251
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